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The Gunmage II – At-will powers, lvl 1

In Black Powder Weapons, D&D 4E on March 24, 2009 at 2:59 pm

In my last post, I introduced The Gunmage, a spell-powered gunslinger using elemental bullets to single out and take down enemies. I started of with the class description and the features, and now I continue with perhaps the most defining parts of a class, the first level at-will powers. Read on for the gory details. This post has now been updated after comments , some powers have changed name to better suit the fact that all powers except Magelock shot now has two special bullet types.

First a little design philosophy. The Gunmage, in this incarnation, is a mix of the warlock and the avenger from PHB2, with some invoker/wizard trappings thrown in for good measure. The point of the powers will mostly be to damage and control one single target and see to it that he can’t receive any help from his allies. Some of this can be seen in the at-will powers presented here today, some will be shown in later encounter and daily power. The Gunmage aims to be a complete class however so to round it out, some general attack powers are added to the mix. Also, the elemental bullet class feature is used in conjunction with many powers, for instance, the upcoming Ice and Fire power deals fire damage with a witchfire bullet, but gives the target vulnerability to cold, giving a reason to switch bullet types. Now onto the powers (and big thanks to the power creator from the Playwrite Blog.

Lvl 1 At-will powers

All powers add the keyword Cold, Fire, Lightning or Thunder depending on what bullet is used.

Ball Lightning
Gunmage Attack 1

The air reeks with ozone as the bullet strikes into your enemy, unleashing bolts of lightning into his friends.
At-Will * Arcane, Weapon
Standard Action               Ranged weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a black powder weapon.
Target: One creature
Attack: Dexterity vs. AC
Hit: 1[W] damage. If you use a crackling lightning bullet or a thunderstrike bullet, make a secondary attack.
Increase damage to 2[W] at 21st level.
Secondary Target: All creatures adjacent to the primary target.
Secondary Attack: If you use a crackling lightning bullet, Intelligence vs. Reflex. If you use a thunderstrike bullet Intelligence vs Fortitude.
Hit: If you use a crackling lightning bullet, half Intelligence modifier lightning damage. If you use a thunderstrike bullet, half Intelligence modifier thunder damage.
Ice and Fire
Gunmage Attack 1

The flesh turns white where the bullet entered the body, rime and ice cold bluish flames spreading over the naked skin, surprised, the enemy gasps for air as the full effect of the cold strikes him.
At-Will * Arcane, Weapon
Standard Action               Ranged weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a black powder weapon.
Target: One creature
Attack: Dexterity vs. AC
Hit: 1[W] + Dexterity modifier damage and target gains -2 to Reflex until the end of your next turn. If you use a hoarfrost bullet, the target also gains -2 to Fortitude until the end of your next turn. If you use a witchfire bullet, the target also gains -2 to Will until the end of your next turn.

Increase damage to 2[W] + Dexterity modifier at 21st level.

Magelock Shot
Gunmage Attack 1

You train your magelock weapon on your enemy, firing you bullet with unerring accuracy.
At-Will * Arcane, Weapon
Standard Action               Ranged weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding your magelock weapon.
Target: One creature
Attack: Dexterity vs. AC
Hit: 1[W] + Dexterity modifier + Intelligence modifier damage.
Increase damage to 2[W] + Dexterity modifier + Intelligence modifier damage at 21st level.
Thunderfrost
Gunmage Attack 1

With a thunderous crack and a cloud of ice, the bullet hits your enemy. As much as the thundering sound makes him want to flee, the ice stands in his way.
At-Will * Arcane, Weapon
Standard Action               Ranged weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a black powder weapon.
Target: One creature
Attack: Dexterity vs. AC
Hit: 1[W] damage and the target is slowed until the end of your next turn. If you use a hoarfrost bullet and the target moves on its next turn, it takes an additional Intelligence modifier damage. If you use a thunderstrike bullet and the target has not moved at least one square during its next turn, it takes and additional Intelligence modifier damage.
Increase damage to 2[W] at 21st level.
Witchfire Embrace
Gunmage Attack 1

When the bullet strikes your enemy, green flames an blue lightning rise from the wound, engulfing him in a fiery, crackling embrace, softening him for further attacks.
At-Will * Arcane, Weapon
Standard Action               Ranged weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding a black powder weapon.
Target: One creature
Attack: Dexterity vs. AC
Hit: 1[W] + Dexterity modifier damage. If you use a witchfire bullet, the target gains vulnerability Lightning equal to your Intelligence modifier until the beginning of your next turn. If you use a crackling lightning bullet, the target instead gains vulnerability Fire equal to your Intelligence modifer until the beginning of your next turn.
Increase damage to 2[W] + Dexterity modifier damage at 21st level.

That’s it for today, next time, I’ll take a look at the encounter and daily powers, feel free to use the comments!

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  1. The flavor for this class is brilliant, and works wonderfully with my conception of how Rule of Cool-style 4E games ought to go. I also love the Iron Kingdoms setting, so the thunder of a black powder handgun improves everything in my eyes. Please post more of this class soon so I can start using it!

  2. Thanks! I’m working on the lvl 1 encounter and dailies. Hopefully, I’ll post them at the end of the week.

  3. I like the flavor of the At-will powers, especially the fact that they have more additional effects and less direct damage. One thing though: There are five different At-wills, and a Gunmage will only have 2 (or 3) of these available to him. Maybe it would be possible to add in several different extra effects depending on which “Elemental Bullet”-feature was used for the attack?
    Example: Firecracker shot
    Hit: 1 [W] damage. If Witchfire bullet was used you deal ongoing fire damage equal to Int (save ends), if Crackling lightning bullet was used target is Slowed until end of its next turn.
    That way a Gunmage would get a little more flexibility with his At-wills (and more reason to actually change Elemental type).

  4. I sort of agree with the above poster. My feeling though is just a hair different. I love the idea of the class especially the vibe you have set forth, I simply feel to often in 4th edition we get effect stacking and not so much effect verity. I really love the elemental bullets… thats super cool! I would like to see the powers add EFFECTS to the shots, the type of extra effects that would be useful no matter the type of elemental bullet used. Example, have 1 burst type power, 1 ongoing power, 1 twin attack type power and a push knockdown power. The elemental effects of the bullet itself are good enough on the elemental part, I vote for more distinct extra effects… Having a burst attack that you could then apply whichever element you need would give some interesting flexibility. If each of the powers focused more on a special effect rather then amplifying its elemental abilities, I think the class becomes more unique and viable along side the existing classes. At that point your a spell caster who though hampered by a specific and odd implement, you would gain an extra bit of flexibility, something needed in the spell casting classes.
    That is just my two cents… I truly love the work you have done on the class, black powder weapons and… well adding some needed flavor to my gaming universe… keep up the good work! I cannot wait to see more!

    • This is exactly the kind of feedback I wanted! You’re both right, Jens and Tilden, that more effect (and more synergy) could be added to the powers when using the different elemental bullets. I will probably revise the At-Wills a bit to take these thoughts into account, though I’m not sure which path I’ll choose just yet. I do want the elemental bullet you’re using to play into the effects of the powers, but I’m leaning towards just adding one bullet type to each power, but not adding any effect. This way, the Witchfire Shot power can be used with the same extra effect both with fire bullets and lightning bullets, but perhaps with some different twist to the effect for the bullet types. Using fire bullets you deal Intelligence modifer ongoing damage (save ends), using the lightning bullet you deal intelligence modifer + dexterity modifier extra damage at the beginning of the creature’s next turn, no ongoing damage. Both are aftereffects, but with different flavors.

      This way, you have more flexibility in what bullets you use, but they do add some flavor to the powers

  5. So I like the flavor. I think that this could be really fun. I do have some issues with it as written.

    This class is looking better than the wizard for flexibility and control (area effects, status effects, flexible on-the-fly effect substitutions), and better than a striker for damage (extra d6s for damage against a certain enemy, double atribute bonuses, on-the-fly choice of damage type). I think that if I had a choice to play this class or any of the current core controllers or strikers, this class is hands down the no brainer choice. This makes this class broken. I think that to make this class viable for most campaigns you would need to tone it down a bunch. Pick either a striker role and give the extra damage, or the controller role and give status effects and area effects, or the very least, create two class builds, one that allows a striker build and one that allows a controller build. Doing both in one build means that you get to be the party striker and the party controller, and you have built in on-the-fly flexibility in the powers, with no real drawbacks.

    There are also a few truisms for power design that you are ignoring. Save ends effects are for dailies only, with a very few exceptions. This goes for both status effects and ongoing damage. Area effect at-wills are for controllers only. Status effects lower the damage potential of a power. Multiple targets lower the damage potential of a power.

    All in all, this is a good start. It just needs some editing and balancing.

  6. Ok, major edit, some nerfing, some retooling to get them in line with common striker powers and power conventions. I’ll let character optimization board take a look at them see what they find…

  7. Interesting… I like them so far. A creative blend of the two suggestions. Reasons to use the different types of elemental bullets as well is fun effects.

  8. Thanks Tilden. New minor edit, upped the Ice and Fire a bit, think I found the balance now, it always lowers Reflex and might lower Fort or Will but won’t touch AC. As I see it, the Gunmage is going to attack AC mostly, Reflexes sometimes and the others very seldom, so now he can prep the target for delivering a Daily but it’s not “-2 to AC”-broken. Comments?

    Also changed the wording on Thunderfrost to clarify and edited a consistency error on Magelock Shot

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